As the last day of voting (that’s Election Day) in the U.S. approaches and the first day of suing (the day after Election Day) also approaches, people are already trying to figure out what this election means. We won’t know that until a) we have a formal winner and b) we have an idea what kind of margin he won by and what states he took. Back home in Palm Beach, the law requires that campaign signs be taken down within 48 hours of the election and, as Joyce Reingold notes,”(h)ope we’re finished counting ballots by then.” As South Florida found out the hard way eight years ago, that could take a while.
So looking for meaning in this election overall is a little premature.
There’s one issue that keeps getting lost in all of this, and that issue is William Ayers, the 1960’s radical who certainly was Barack Obama’s political colleague in Chicago. With the financial meltdown, people tend to think of Ayers and other radicals Obama associated with as side issues. But Ayers has spent his life working not to be a side issue, and we should give him due respect in that regard.
Calling Ayers and people like him “terrorists” may be accurate but it’s uninformative. Terrorism, like war, is politics by another method; that’s certainly the way it’s regarded in the Middle East. The term doesn’t illuminate the motivations that drive its practitioners. Terrorism is hard to sustain indefinitely; its aficionados are either killed, obtain the power they’re looking for through violence, give up and disappear into the woodwork, or decide to pursue their goals through the “system.” It’s the last that Ayers and many other troublemakers in the 1960’s have decided to do, and that’s why junior Democrat careerists such as Obama end up rubbing shoulders with them.
All 1960’s radicals started with the premise that the U.S. was a reactionary, oppressive, warmongering and terminally bourgeois country which could only be transformed by the violent overthrow of the system. Ayers is no exception, and there is plenty of evidence that his opinion of the country has not changed over the years. The only thing that has changed is his methodology; he now seeks to use the educational machine to spread his idea amongst those who are too young to remember what a mess that he and other 1960’s radicals made of our college campuses and other places in our society.
It’s not a stretch to say that a significant part of the Democrat Party has spent the last forty years trying to implement the 1960’s radical agenda. The more “mainstream” implementation of that agenda is embodied by the Clintons, and the party cast them aside in favour of someone who, although too young to be a direct product of that idea, has been allied with that agenda’s most “pure” advocates. That characterisation is true for both Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. The really important question is this: how much have these people influenced Barack Obama? And will he make their agenda his top priority?
There are two ways of looking at the answer, and it’s like looking at an overweight person trying on clothes too small: no matter what angle you’re looking from, the view isn’t pretty.
The first is that he hasn’t been influenced by them all, that his character is such that he just uses people without them making an impact on him. That goes to the “sociopath/anthropologist” charge that I mentioned in my piece There’s a Reason Obama Didn’t Plege the Flag, and if that’s the case then there’s no telling how many people he’ll throw under the bus if he’s President. That would make an Obama presidency a game of Russian roulette: no one will know who gets shot next.
The second is that he has been, in which case we’ll have what I’ve been hoping to avoid for a long time: a country run by an elite that basically hates it. Getting past the obvious problem relative to foreign policy, if those at the top don’t like this place, it’s only a matter of time before those at the bottom get the same idea. It will be hard to fill our military, and even harder to get our economy going when hopes of improvement are dimmed by a hefty tax take and the realisation that the taxes are going to people who neither like us nor have our best interests at heart. Such a realisation will make the downward turn in the stock market look minor.
Although I can see Art Rhodes’ point that making William Ayers a campaign issue was a non-starter, that’s due to the general historical amnesia that dominates the life of our country. That’s too bad. As Karl Marx used to say, history repeats itself, the first time as a tragedy, the second as a farce. So which repetition are we looking at? At this point, only God knows.